Blues youngsters battling against Redbacks

New South Wales’ inexperienced batting roster got off to a flying start in their crucial Sheffield Shield final round tie against South Australia at the Karen Rolton Oval in Adelaide.

Given the first use of the wicket after South Australia won the coin toss, NSW advanced at 1-82 at lunch.

Debutant Blake Nikitaris impressed atop the order of being unbeaten on 44, which included a six in his first Shield cricket session.

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No. 3 Matthew Gilkes is also undefeated in 36, after fly-half Ryan Hackney was dismissed for a bowling duck by Brendan Doggett.

Needing a win to have any hope of making the Shield final next week, NSW went into the game without senior batsmen Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes and skipper Kurtis Patterson.

Henriques suffered a calf injury in last week’s draw with Western Australia, Hughes broke his thumb, while Patterson remained in Sydney with his wife for the birth of their first child.

Additionally, versatile Hayden Kerr (hamstring) and wicketkeeper Peter Nevill (shoulder) have also been deemed unavailable.

The absences meant 22-year-old Jason Sangha assumed the captaincy for the first time.

South Australia, seeded last, debuted with Jordan Buckingham, Bailey Capel and Thomas Kelly.

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